Talks on reducing VAT for medicines resume in Latvia – Baltic News Network

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The Latvian Ministry of Health proposes to reduce VAT to 5% for medicines.

In order to reduce patient fees for healthcare services in Latvia, which are among the highest among EU Member States, the Ministry of Health has prepared and submitted for public discussion a conceptual report on accessibility financing of medicines, reports the ministry.

One of the proposals is to reduce the VAT rate from 21% to 5% in order to reduce the price of drugs paid by residents.

The report includes five ways to help reduce patient costs for drugs.

  • Reduce the VAT rate from the current 12% to 5%.
  • Set a specific markup allowed for wholesalers instead of a percentage of producer prices. At a fixed level, the mark-up for medicines with a value of more than 200 euros must not exceed 6 euros – as is the case in Lithuania and Estonia.
  • Set a maximum authorized amount for general patient costs for compensated medicines per calendar year – EUR 250 – above which no patient costs should be applied.
  • Revise the principles of drug pricing by reducing the final prices of drugs for patients. This would be possible by ensuring that the price of medicines in and outside the compensated medicines system is equal to the prices in other EU Member States.
  • To reduce drug costs for patients, introduce a general practice prescription system for unpaid prescribed drugs.

“Personal payments from the wallets of ‘residents’ play a major role in the Latvian healthcare system. Out-of-pocket payments for health services in Latvia are among the highest in the EU, which negatively affects drug use patterns and the health status of residents, which is already one of the highest. weak in Europe. Reducing VAT on medicines would make prices more accessible to patients,” says Minister of Health Daniels Pavļuts.

“We presented this proposal, considering that prices will increase further in Latvia due to the Russian-Ukrainian war.”

The Minister also notes: “With inflation on the rise, the capacity of the least socially protected inhabitants to buy medicines will fall further and we must think about protecting the health of our inhabitants.

To improve the availability of drugs, the Ministry of Health will continue to develop the system of state-subsidized drugs and medical equipment for chronic patients, fully or partially covering the cost of new drugs and medical devices. This will help improve the affordability of medicines, which is necessary to achieve the public health goals set out in the Public Health Guidelines 2021-2027.

The ministry will also continue to raise public awareness about the rational use of medicines and supplements, as well as to strengthen the role of pharmacists in maintaining public health and the independence and neutrality of the profession.

The Ministry of Health recalls that the accessibility of drugs is very important to improve the health of residents. The use of drugs significantly improves public health indices – reduces premature mortality, extends lifespan and improves quality of life.

The concept report has been submitted for public debate, which will continue until June 16. For proposals, residents are invited to use the TAP portal.

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